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Leigh Merrill
Lilana Bloch, Dallas, Texas
Recommendation by John Zotos

Leigh Merrill, "Red Martini," 2019, pigment print, 25 x 20"

Continuing through May 4, 2019

Leigh Merrill’s photographs are steeped in postmodernist ambiguity, revealing the anxiety and desire that grips our time. The artist manufactures a sense of uncertainty from a photo-collage technique that results in completely fabricated realities drawn from multiple sources. She constructs puzzles that challenge us to accept their mystery even when the secret is revealed. The architectural studies are comprised of a single hue that bathes a deserted city street on which sits a familiar building, but only in an uncanny way. Structures are drawn from a mix of styles from the last several decades. Old storefronts, bars or theaters exert an especially hypnotic pull in “Blue Martini,” “Red Martini” and “Jacks Final.” 

More mysterious and challenging though, are the black and white images of all-over foliage, such as “Las Vegas Greens” and “Dark Leaves.” These beautiful and unsettling creations eliminate the perspective and spatial depth of the architectural photos, leaving us to ponder an all-over and lush surface of mostly leaves and few flowers. In some places Merrill adds an artificial light to bring attention to a particular bloom, illuminating specific visual moments. In “Wallpaper” the top of a couch peeks from the lower edge of the image, as if the flora had invaded a living room. This leaves one to consider if Merrill is bringing the outside in, or the other way around.

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